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Sports Dentistry - Education and Prevention: Play it Right!

Course Number: 679

Sports Dentistry

Sports dentistry is a field in dentistry that include orofacial trauma, dental screening in particular pre-season assessments, prevention of acute and chronic trauma, and the role of nutrients for athletes.6 Sports dentistry has evolved in the last decade from treatment and prevention of injuries to support the overall health of the athlete. Prevention within sports dentistry is essential, as athletes need to be assessed for tooth wear, prevention of sporting injuries and nutritional health. Oral health is a major factor in the performance of elite athletes.7,8 Sports medicine contributes to healthier athletes and better performance and, in recent years, has evolved into a multidisciplinary field that recognizes sports dentistry as an essential element. Sports Dentistry is the branch of dentistry dealing with the prevention and treatment of the pathologies and injuries of the oral cavity related to sports practice. Studies have shown that athletes' oral health is often poor. Based on a systematic review, 15%–75% presented with dental caries and up to 15% with periodontal problems.

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Regular oral health assessments by a dental professional, especially during the preseason, might allow for prevention plans and early treatment of any disease. Athletes need to be assessed for caries, oral diseases, third molar concerns, and oral pathologies. National sports funders and policy organizations should take the lead in integrating such an approach. The World Dental Federation (FDI) has issued the official oral health, and sports guidelines and toolkit addressed to the international community of dentists, physicians, athletes, and sports federations.9

The European Association for Sports Dentistry (EA4SD) and the Academy for Sports Dentistry (ASD) have recently created a working group to develop a Universal Screening Protocol for Dental Examinations in Sports (USPDES).7

Predicting sports-related traumatic injuries is an important concern for dental health professionals. A predictive index has been developed by Fos et al. to determine the likelihood of a sports-related traumatic dental injury in children and adolescents. This index can be used to aid in the prevention of injury by understanding who is most likely to be injured and what factors influence the chance of injury. The index has been designed for ease of use by dental health professionals and has incorporated data collection and tracking features.10